Rain, rain go away

The rain streak broke long enough—and just in time for—my Saturday tag sale, and the results were nothing less than amazing as 20-30 people arrived early to be first in line to get in on the deals. A garage sale, yard sale or tag sale may be all the same but but a “Mar” sale is unlike any you will ever experience. Unlike your traditional tag sales I begin by creating a catchy ad complemented by memorable signs (a large price tag with a silk ribbon looped through.) I also add silent auction items and beautiful displays. This prompted the question several times: “Who’s in retail and did your displays?” To have a “Mar” sale one needs to create “departments” such as living room, garden items, things for the kitchen, etc. By grouping your items into these departments they look like they belong together, helping potential buyers better imagine them in their own home. Doing this means your items have the best chance to get top dollar. Wipe things down, showcase them in their best light.

I never have anything priced less than a dollar, so no small coin change is necessary. I create a music list on my iPod that plays fun, upbeat music throughout the day; I even had a nostalgic twist this year by downloading old sitcom theme music such as “The Love Boat”, “Three’s Company” and “The Jeffersons,” to name a few. I even updated my Twitter/Facebook account throughout the day and before I knew it some of the people who follow me showed up, too. This tag sale offered a gift with purchase bonus: you buy anything and once you were done shopping you were invited to a garden tour. People came back with their husbands, wives, friends and neighbors to show off my garden and garden design concepts. Several returned with my book at hand and our local Barnes & Noble could not keep their shelves filled. All in all a fabulous day, as we had fun, made some money and met lots of new people and fans. The tag sale was a hit and once again Rosebrook Gardens offer the perfect backdrop for the event.

Having a silent auction item is perfect for those things you just don’t want to give away. I had several items—including a large chair and a corner unit—that didn’t qualify as “tag sale bargains” but I wanted to take advantage of the tag sale crowds to try to find a buyer. So I posted a clipboard at each of these items, with a minimum bid, stating that I would call the winner, who had to come at the end of the day to pick them up. I quickly got two that met the opening bid, and once one bid was on the list it seemed to take off. Others added to the list in increments of 10.00. My first bidder came back at 4:00 to make the last bid on the furniture. I was so delighted to see my furniture go to a happy home.

So what can you take away from this success? If you heard my recent segment on Martha Stewart Radio you know that I really do take my own advice! Create a great ad, do fabulous signs, market your things in departments, and offer a gift with purchase. Make it an experience and a fun event, not just a way to sell your stuff.

On Wednesday I decided to take advantage of the one great day of weather, and took my CEO Paul to Six Flags in Massachusetts. We took advantage of the “adult ticket for kid’s price” promotion by arriving with our empty Coke cans in hand. To make the most of our time and money, we brought our own lunch and tail-gated it around 1:00pm. And we also got the Fast Pass—it’s a little more of an investment, but totally worthwhile as a “splurge” (thanks tag sale shoppers!) In the first 2 hours we rode 8 coasters—what normally would have taken 6 hours of line-ups. This allowed us to re-ride the new Bizarro coaster many times, and after a couple of turns we even got up the nerve to sit in the very front. My mouth was so wide open screaming all the way I must have swallowed ten pounds of flies! Didn’t stop me from doing it one more time after that! With a combination of the Coke discount and bringing our own lunch we offset the cost of the Fast Pass—all in all we spent the same as if we had just paid a regular fee, but got to do 4 times as many rides. That’s good planning! I’ll tell you, though—after skating on Monday my body had quite a workout this week!

On Thursday—yet again another rainy day—I coordinated a day of beauty for my friend Lisa, starting with a light lunch followed by what I like to call “hair repair”. We ended our day with some good old fashioned shoe shopping. A head to toe make over, literally! Lisa wanted a new look because she is getting ready for a 20-year high school reunion; I thought it was best to do some highlights followed by a new haircut to complement her face and skin tone. Something with low maintenance with a big impact. That said, I made sure she would have some bangs as I know she likes to pull her hair back from time to time when she works in the garden. Wearing her hair up would offer another a fabulous look. Being fabulous never has to cost a lot of money; you just have to know the best resources. As a lifestyle expert I know what woman want and I was delighted to help Lisa with her new look. That said, after her time at Dream Spa, we checked out Marshall’s—which just opened their store dedicated to shoes here—and boy did we hit a home run. The best collection of women’s shoes I’ve ever seen in a discount place, with huge, huge savings. I’ve quickly become no stranger to this store and I enjoy taking all my girls there for a shoe fix. These mega shoe stores can be a little overwhelming for the untrained eye, but I quickly went to work and found two must-have pairs: Michael Kors and Guess. I asked Lisa to put the strappy Michael Kors on and the next thing I knew she was putting her foot on the counter to have the shoe scanned. What great fun we had for a rainy day.

This afternoon, I’m back to the city for the weekend and tonight I’m seeing the Broadway play “9 to 5” which is getting rave reviews. Dinner first at Rosa Mexicano. And the next morning I’ll be trying a new form of stretching class currently only available in the city designed for all ages—can’t wait to tell you all about it next week.

Today Violet turns 27 weeks and has now shown us an interesting insight to her personality. She has a wonderful soft zipper case that she knows as “in your house” and will enter into it on command. This week while I was out she broke loose after gnawing away at the zipper and lining. What was once a perfect home no longer offers me a place to confine her. I returned home to discover every last toy scattered throughout the house, my robe over the sofa, gym sneakers in the office and the hall, my bed pulled and unmade and my underwear in the kitchen—and the zippered house totally tattered and distorted. Could this be the work of one little schnauzer? Yup and her name is Miss Violet.